National | Hauora

Med student's equity dream propelled by rocket scholarship

Lilli-Peach Simpson-Maru (Rongomaiwahine) is a step closer to her dream of closing the gap in Māori and non-Māori health outcomes, after being awarded this year's Rocket Lab Scholarship.

Simpson-Maru is studying medicine at the University of Otago and in receiving $20,000 of education costs for up to four years, she says her aspiration is health equity.

“I want to make [the health industry] a safe space for tangata whenua,” Simpson-Maru says.

"I feel extremely grateful and humbled to have been given this opportunity and I feel like it has allowed me to become closer to my whenua and tupuna.”

The Rocket Lab scholarship supports students from Te Tai Rāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay near Rocket Lab’s launch site in Mahia, to pursue science, technology, engineering, or maths (STEM) at tertiary level.

It also gives support and mentoring from Rocket Lab leadership.

Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck, who founded the scholarship in 2017 for those near the company's launch complex, says it's about students excelling wherever their passions may be.

“The scholarship is about supporting young people who want to make a real difference in the world, whether that’s through aerospace or a different STEM field." Beck said.

"Lilli-Peach is a great example of someone who clearly has a strong drive to support her community and become a leader in a critically important field, so we’re proud to enable that."

Public Interest Journalism